Monday, April 07, 2014

Transformative work of the day?

Browser plug-in that swaps Daily Mail headlines with reader comments.  Nearly complete identity but for the arrangement, but also commentary, and this reaction shows how the two are intertwined: "This plugin is definitely funny, but there's something illuminating about it too. In the first place, they don't feel too dissimilar from one another. Second, it strikes not only at the information that The Daily Mail would like to convey to readers, but also what readers choose to focus on.” Similarity plus difference…

(Of course there is the doctrinal question of whether rearranging users' views in a predictable way constitutes creation of a derivative work.  We've all pretty much agreed to ignore that with respect to ad blockers and the like, despite a bunch of commentary, maybe because very few copyright owners end up wanting to call their customers primary infringers.  See Aereo.  But this plugin goes a bit further, with a decision one might call minimally original.  Still, it's possible that the plugin is transformative of meaning without sufficiently transforming the work to trigger copyright.)

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